Jesus is not a pansy or a pacifist
Pansy: a usually disparaging : a. weak or effeminate man or boy b. usually disparaging : a male homosexual
Pacifist: adverb: strongly and actively opposed to conflict and especially war.
Over at Religion News Service, Jonathan Merritt reports that Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll has outraged several well-known Christians with a blog post about whether God is a pacifist. Read it here.
Typically I ignore anything Mark Driscoll says. I’m sure that won’t bother him a bit. I’m a woman, after all, and Driscoll tends to be completely dismissive of women except in the bedroom, where he has plenty to say about the role and duty of women to their husbands.
Adding to my reluctance to comment on anything Driscoll says or does is that I have several family members who are Driscoll devotees. I love my family. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
I am the daughter of a Staff Sgt. whose own death came about as the result of mortar fire. Friendly fire, as it turned out. (Is there a worse misnomer in all of history than friendly fire?) I am also the friend to many, many veterans and military families. And I serve on the advisory board to some national veteran organizations. I understand something about war. About the cost of it. Paid for by families and veterans.
I was in Portland a week ago, speaking to a writers group. When I spoke of my father’s death in Vietnam, a woman broke down in tears. I still have no idea what pain she was in, why she wept so. Another woman, however, approached me later and told me her son had been killed in Iraq. In my circle, we refer to her as a Gold Star Mom.
My first response when I meet a member of the Gold Star family is to hug them. Sometimes I weep with them. Sometimes they weep with me. We get it. What we never ever do, however, is sit around and argue the theology of killing and the distinction between killing and murder.
Now I don’t know if Mark Driscoll loves to argue, or if he’s just looking for a way to keep his name in the media cesspool. In his blog post, he claims to be addressing the Sixth Commandment:
“The Bible distinguishes between killing and murder. This is important, because many people don’t understand the difference. The sixth commandment does not say, “Thou shalt not kill.” It does say, “Thou shalt not murder.”
I’d venture to say Driscoll has never been in the situation where he’s had to kill another human being. Men and women who have been there, done that, rarely talk about such matters in theological terms. Instead, they often talk about the guilt they feel or the nightmares they’ve endured, or how they wish they had died instead.
Driscoll doesn’t live in the trenches. He resides in the lofty places, behind the pulpit. Which is a sacred place, and ought to be respected and treated as such. One ought to weigh carefully the words one speaks over the people, making sure such words aren’t demeaning or cursory in nature. The last thing anyone ought to be doing from the pulpit is being charmed by their own smart-ass wit.
Driscoll may be suffering from megalomania. It’s a disorder common to religious and political leaders who have sought the limelight throughout history. Megalomania is defined by a “mania for great or grandiose performance, feelings of personal omnipotence.” Or it could be that Driscoll suffers from the milder variety known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder, where the narcissist’s undeniable quest for attention leads him to search for a steady source of admiration. The narcissist will often turn to inspiring fear or hatred than suffer the nightmare of being ignored. The narcissist is indifferent to the consequences of hurting people.
That certainly seems to sum up Driscoll who strategically places inflammatory words as if they were IEDs.
Driscoll maintains that this distinction between killing and murdering is proof positive that “Jesus is not a pansy or a pacifist.”
We are left to assume that Driscoll either didn’t know the true meanings of the words he employed here or that he knew full-well the meaning of the words and chose to use them in a demeaning and cursory fashion. He intends his audience to associate being a pacifist with being a homosexual — both bad things in the eyes of Driscoll and his devotees, apparently.
The literal definition of a pacifist is one who is opposed to war. Who, besides the defense contractors making millions from warring, is for war? Raise your hand right now if you think war is good thing and ought to always be our first course of action. Go ahead and speak up.
William Stafford, another pansy pacifist, once said “Every war has two losers.” Perhaps Driscoll ought to spend a lot more time reading history books to learn the truth of that, or at least visiting with our nation’s war veterans before mouthing off about something he knows so little about.
Perhaps he could just pick up a newspaper and read the stories out of Afghanistan or Iraq, about what a dismal failure those two wars have turned out to be. As if there is ever anything really victorious about warring.
I am not even going to address Driscoll’s remark about Jesus not being a pansy. I will let that stand on its own two ugly feet. I’m trusting that the audience has the decency to see that this pastor has with one word demeaned a whole group of humanity, a people that God himself loves enough to die for.
Speaking of which, if you are going to maintain that Jesus was no pacifist, how in the world do you explain the Crucifixion?
The Crucifixion is the purist example of pacifism.
What’s that you say? What about Jesus in the temple? That was not the work of a pacifist. Jesus overturning tables! Jesus whipping the money-changers!
You are right.
Nothing made Jesus more distraught than the religious leaders of his day.
It angered him to no end to see the lengths pastors would go to exploit the people. All in the name of the God they reportedly represented.
Jesus recognized the mega-pastors of his day for what they really were – liars, cheats, swindlers, thieves.
Driscoll ends with a warning:
“Once the wick is burned up, he is saddling up on a white horse and coming to slaughter his enemies and usher in his kingdom. Blood will flow. …Some of those whose blood will flow as high as the bit in a horse’s mouth for 184 miles will be those who did not repent of their sin but did wrongly teach that Jesus was a pacifist.”
I’m no prophet but I’m betting those words will come back to haunt Driscoll one day very soon.